Study of the Day

I’m a coffee aficionado. Grinder, fresh refrigerated beans, two coffee presses, one drip coffeemaker, one espresso machine, and an entire countertop comprise my coffee station at home.

But I’ve rarely been one to work in coffeeshops. I do it now and again, but sometimes the coffee doesn’t align to expectations. Sometimes it’s too cold or too hot. Sometimes I can’t find a table. But this article suggests I need to change my ways.

According to researchers, it turns out that ambient noise has an effect on creativity. Quiet reinforces focus, but focus gets in the way of lateral thinking and creative problem-solving. Subtle distractions caused by ambient noise seem to reset the brain unconsciously, priming it for creative breakthroughs.

But there’s an optimal level of noise. Too much hurts creativity. And it turns out that the optimal noise level can be found in coffeeshops.

Perhaps this accounts for the dozens of laptops I see kicking around my local coffeeshop. Perhaps many people are more successful working in coffeeshops.

As for me, I’m going to make a point of working from my local independent coffeeshop once a week. But I think I can replicate the researcher’s effects at home. Time to turn up some ambient noise in my office — and grab another cup of coffee at home. For me, great coffee at home trumps mediocre coffee elsewhere. What about you?